Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys & Cranes of Japan

Loading...
Wildlife
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
ZEJPN
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
2–16
Min age:
16

Explore Japan and see the nation's famous snow monkeys

TBC

Highlights

  • Witness nearly 14,000 hooded and white-naped cranes in Arasaki, Kyushu.
  • Visit the enchanting, snow-enveloped village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the tall, gable-roofed Gassho-Zukuri architecture, which literally means "hands folded in prayer," is unique in Japan.
  • Observe the celebrated spectacle of the snow monkeys that visit and soak in the thermal baths of Jigokudani, and enjoy the therapeutic properties of the hot springs at our lodge.
  • Watch magnificent Steller's eagles and graceful whooper swans at lakes along the coasts of east Hokkaido, and search for the world's largest owl—Blakiston's fish owl. 

Key information

  • 18 days travelling across Japan
  • Internal flights included
  • Up to 16 guests on trip
  • Countries visited: Japan Tours, Asia

What's included

  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Tokyo
to
Tokyo
  • Day 1

    Arrive Tokyo

    Welcome to Japan. Meet your English-speaking tour guide and make your way to the start hotel, have some dinner, and get a good night's sleep before your wonderful itinerary begins the next day.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Tokyo / Kagoshima / Kirishima

    A morning flight takes you to Kyushu Island. From Kagoshima, drive through wooded hills into the Kirishima-Yaku National Park. Visit the ancient Kirishima Shrine and walk through the beautiful mature laurel forests around Lake Miike to observe resident forest birds and wintering waterfowl. Dinner and overnight at a hot spring hotel in Kirishima. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Arasaki Crane Reserve

    The fallow rice paddies around the coastal village of Arasaki are the site of a spectacular winter gathering of Asian cranes. The sights and sounds of nearly 14,000 hooded and white-naped cranes make this one of the most powerful wildlife experiences one can hope for, and a photographer’s dream. Overnight at Hotel Sengokutei for the next two nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Arasaki Crane Reserve

    Rise early to visit the main concentration of cranes to witness their mass departure from the roost at dawn. After breakfast, explore the surrounding fields to photograph adults and juveniles and search for other wintering birds.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Arasaki Crane Reserve / Nagoya / Shirakawa-go / Takayama

    Leave Kyushu on an early morning flight for the snowy mountains of central Honshu. Visit the village of Shirakawa-go, located in an isolated, steep, mountainous area of the Sho River Valley. This World Heritage Site showcases the unique architectural style of houses that resemble hands folded in prayer. Overnight in Takayama.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Takayama / Kambayashi Onsen

    This morning explore the historical town of Takayama, visiting saké breweries and miso stores, before continuing by road to Matsumotos to visit the historical castle, ending at Kambayashi Onsen. Here you have the extraordinary opportunity to watch and photograph snow monkeys. Your ryokan, or inn, for the next three nights features an attractive and artistic interior and a delightful garden. With its own onsen (natural thermal spring), you are able to emulate generations of Japanese people (and the monkeys!) and enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic soak in the mineral waters.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 7-8

    Kambayashi Onsen / Jigokudani

    Jigokudani is a steep-sided valley set amid forested mountains. After breakfast walk along the mile-long trail to the viewing area and spend the day observing and photographing the resident troop of Japanese macaques as they feed nearby and soak in their very own thermal pool. Also keep a lookout for the shy and elusive Japanese serow, and birds such as the brown dipper and alpine accentor.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Kambayashi Onsen / Tokyo / Kushiro

    Today drive across Honshu and then fly from Tokyo to Kushiro. Arriving in eastern Hokkaido, more wildlife spectacles await—huge numbers of red-crowned cranes, flocks of whooper swans, magnificent Steller’s eagles, and possibly Eurasian red squirrels, Japanese deer, and red foxes. Overnight at a family-run hot spring hotel in Tsurui-mura for the next three nights. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 10-11

    Kushiro Region

    In snowy east Hokkaido, visit several areas to view red-crowned cranes. You can expect to see large flocks of these magnificent birds at ranges down to 100 feet or less. Greeting ceremonies and courtship dances involve leaps and pirouettes, posturing, and trumpeting cries. Such behavior can be infectious, spreading through the flocks in waves, and oftentimes dozens of cranes leap and trumpet together in a thrilling display. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 12-13

    Akan-Mashu National Park

    Akan-Mashu National Park is geothermally rich and over two days you will explore a variety of visually stunning subjects—volcanic peaks, steaming sulphuroles, Hokkaido’s most scenic crater lake, and flocks of whooper swans. In the evening, retreat to your delightful lakeside pension for a gourmet meal.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Rausu, Shiretoko Peninsula

    Today drive to the Shiretoko Peninsula, another of Japan’s World Heritage Sites. This rugged, mountainous finger of land attracts white-tailed and Steller’s eagles, truly immense birds, half again as big as the bald eagle. Weather permitting, visit the edge of the sea ice by boat and lure these impressive raptors with fish scraps. Tonight stay at a local inn overlooking the sea.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    Shiretoko Peninsula / Yoroushi

    Depart early this morning for a second opportunity to watch the eagles at the ice edge. Following breakfast continue your exploration of eastern Hokkaido, first along the Shiretoko Peninsula for more views of winter wildfowl and raptors, and to watch for foxes, deer, and seals (sightings of Steller’s sea lion and harbor seal are possible), and keep a look out for sea-urchin harvesters. Then head south to your accommodations inland at Yoroushi where you will spend two nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Yoroushi

    Today explore the scenery of the southeast coast of Hokkaido, where there are more chances to encounter deer and foxes, as well as wintering swans, ducks, and raptors. Time permitting, learn how mochi, a type of Japanese rice cake, is created. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 17

    Yoroushi / Kushiro / Tokyo

    After breakfast drive back to Kushiro for your flight south to Tokyo. Pause for your last glimpses of cranes and views of Kushiro marsh before saying farewell to Japan’s wildest island, Hokkaido. Overnight at the Okura Hotel Tokyo, with a special farewell dinner.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 18

    Depart Toyko

    Wave goodbye to the rest of the group and board your flight home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Japan

Most nationalities do not require a visa to visit Japan. South African passport holders do require a visa; but it is worth all nationalities verifying visa requirements directly at your embassy before travel.

Vaccinations

Japan

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners included.

You will be able to sample a wide range of Japanese and east Asian food through the tour.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

In Japan, our hotels are centrally located and of a high standard with excellent modern facilities. Please note, in Japan, western hotel room sizes in standard hotels are normally smaller in size and if requesting a double bed, please be advised that these can be smaller in size than western double bed sizes so couples may prefer twin beds.

List of hotels normally used:

  • Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu
  • Ryokojin Sanso
  • Hotel Sengokutei
  • Hotel Associa Takayama Resort
  • Hotel Senjukaku
  • Hotel Taito
  • Pension Papilio
  • Rausukur
  • Yuyado Daiichi
  • The Okura Tokyo

Please be advised single supplements are limited and is payable at the time of booking and subject to availability. In Japan, often single supplements can be accommodated in either an actual single and/or double for sole use room in hotels. 

 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3859
Call for private group trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trips you might also like

Ancient & Modern Japan

87 reviews

Explore Zen gardens, temples and the most iconic sights of Japan

Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate
14 Days from £3,999
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details

Highlights of Japan

Uncover the cultural highlights of Japan on this 8 day trip

Culture
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate
8 Days from £2,699
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details

Cycling in Japan

8 reviews

Cycle the land of the Samurai; temples, geishas and incredible Tokyo and Kyoto

Cycling
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
14 Days from £4,779
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details

Japan's Kumano Kodo

1 review

Walk Japan's ancient pilgrimage routes along the Kumano Kodo

Walking & Trekking
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate
14 Days from £5,099
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details